So I thought that I’d make an effort to check out one of the three live video chats he hosted on the day of the launch. I almost forgot, but saw the notice on Facebook once the first one was underway, so I set myself a reminder to tune in to the second. He was charming! His dog Ralph — Macchio — (pictured above) even made an appearance at the one I watched, which took place at Jarrett’s studio at his home in Northampton, Massachusetts. Like any good dog owner, he knew that Ralph was about to get loud, so he scooped him up and introduced us.
Since the video cast was in honor of the release of his very first chapter book, one of the first thing he addressed was the questions he’s gotten about the differences between writing different types of books. He said that writing picture books and graphic novels are like red apples and green apples, but writing his first chapter book was like a pineapple.
There are many similarities between graphic novels and picture books. The story is told through pictures with text, graphic novels having a bit more text. I was curious if he thought about the story first, or the characters, and he said that he always really gets to know the characters visually first.
Writing a chapter book was so different. He’s definitely an accomplished author with many picture books and graphic novels under his belt, but getting in the right groove to write a chapter book was a different animal (or fruit, as the case may be). On the videocast, he showed his editor’s notes on his first draft — many, many pages of constructive criticism to make the story stronger. I loved that he shared that. What a great reminder to any child (or adult!) that criticism doesn’t mean failure.
The live questions from the audience made each of the two sessions different. I tuned in to the evening one so that my kids could watch. My high school daughter, in particular, wanted to ask him advice that he might have to an aspiring artist/illustrator, because she thinks she might like to work in animation or illustration. He gave her great, age-appropriate advice. He said that even if her focus is on cartoons, her portfolio should include life art as well. He was rejected the first time he applied to RISD, because his portfolio was almost completely cartoon illustrations. He worked on a new portfolio which included all kinds of art and was accepted.
He definitely knows how to connect with his audience, and I love that. Leave a comment and join the conversation — has Jarrett J. Krosoczka connected with you? Or does something here make you more curious about his books or him as an author/artist?
I watched the vidcast before I started the book, but wanted to run this information in conjunction with my review and giveaway of The Platypus Police Squad. I liked his style when I “met” him, and then my son and I both loved the book. Click through and read my review and then leave a comment if you’d like to enter to win your own copy.